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Special Occasion Recommendations, Hosting Manhattanites used to high-end dining

Parents and In-Laws coming to Boston for grandchildrens' graduation (twins!). Last they were in town, they thoroughly enjoyed Menton, need a similar recommendation. Last we were in NYC, we celebrated mom's bday at 11 Madison Park. Older folks, used to high-end dining with all the formalities and vibe of the best of white table cloth dining. I am actually considering Via Matta (we are Italian) as I have always found the service to exceptional and the food wonderful. Other thoughts? Rialto?

Many thanks!

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  1. I beg of you to not go to Via Matta. It is just not good. If you want fancier Italian, I'd lean towards a place like Sorellina or Mama Maria.

    1 Reply
    1. I'm not sure Boston has much in the way of high end dining of that sort. L'Espalier is the obvious choice though. Service is stellar, food excellent, atmosphere very nice and high end.

      but other than that, what about Oleana? I find the service very good, and the food excellent. Maybe #9 Park?

      1. While I haven't been to it myself, I've heard that Salts in Cambridge, while small, is quite classy and fantastic.

        4 Replies
          1. re: Capeannetoo

            Salts is fantastic. That being said, I'm not sure I'd go there with 6-8 people (which it sounds like you'll have). It's more of a dinner for two type place - small, quiet, romantic etc.

            1. re: mkfisher

              Actually, Salts is a smaller room in general, but they do a great job with parties that are a bit larger if you book ahead. It is a very cozy and elegant atmosphere for a larger table. We were there with a group of 8 recently and the service was excellent and attentive, maybe as we were the only group of that size in the restaurant that night.

              If the OP is looking for Italian, I agree with the Mamma Maria recommendation. The atmosphere sounds right on for their party and the private rooms might be a great option. I have seen some negative reports on Via Matta lately, but our last meal there was excellent.

            2. re: Capeannetoo

              This is good to hear, I actually just made a reservation there for April 27th. Can't wait! I originally was supposed to go on February 9th but had to cancel because of Nemo. At least we won't be snowed out this time (hopefully.)

            1. I'm a fan of Clio. Rialto is lovely, however the atmosphere is somewhat benign.

              1. If the elegance of space and presentation is an issue, and if quiet is important too, I'd recommend Rialto (largely Italianate and, in my view, better than Via Matta), Mama Maria, and Lucca on Huntington (in order of my preference for fancy but quiet Italian). L'Espalier is still lovely and old world even if the "new" space is less lovely than the old and the food is fine. Troquet, while not a perfect space, has old-fashioned panache in its devotion to an excellent wine list and it has quite good food. The food at Salts is good but I've never found the space elegant, simply serviceable. There are many other fine restaurants but in Boston and surrounds a lot of the good ones are not terribly up-scale nor are they quiet (I would put Bondir and Journeyman in the very good but not terribly up-scale category for example).

                1. Did I just see a bunch of pics of you on the FB Rumble page?? :)

                  1. If you're looking for something along the lines of 11 Madison and enjoyed Menton last time, I really think the only other option is L'Espalier.

                    The other restaurants suggested are great if you want something slightly more casual (Rialto and Salts both have great food) but only L'Espalier is going to meet the true high end formality that it sounds like you are looking for.

                    1. Thanks everyone for the great suggestions. Have not been to Salts but will look forward to going with my husband for a more intimate dinner. Looks like I will be choosing b/w L'Espalier and Mamma Maria. While I love Rialto, I do find the room to be a bit cold and so it probably won't be right for this occasion. Really appreciate the time. Happy Saturday!